For someone who doesn’t take to changes with open-arms, my teething period to get used to the dynamics of ‘hostel-life’ was slightly prolonged or perhaps I should re-phrase it and say that my appreciation for an amalgamated independent-community-living was a little slow to take-off.
As much as I itch to defend my efforts, in heart of hearts I admit that my contribution to this ‘situation’ was as much as or slightly more than the changed circumstances themselves. While everybody around enjoyed midnight matthi-achaar (snacking) sessions and discussing ‘boyfriends’; after initial couple of episodes, I preferred going unnoticed; quietly stepping out with a book or a Walkman or just pulling-up my sheets for a snooze… That was more of my thing!
Also, staying in hostel was a college-mandate, which is why we had a huge chunk of potential day scholars who rushed back home over every weekend. It was those one and half, slightly peaceful-er days that I looked forward to, the most. 😉
It was on one such weekend, that I decided to increase my book-genre portfolio and picked a book off my roommate’s shelf.. With its cover and blurb missing, there wasn’t much to caution me against that one as I began reading. Now of course I know that it was Jeffery Deaver’s Bone Collector! For someone who gets scared of their own shadow, my experience with that book has been the closest I’ve come to horror-in-name-of-crime-fiction genre (and i read the entire thing because stupidity has no justification!)
Anyway, so while I was somehow braving through it, a weekend was upon us again and the hostel crowd thinned out (a little more than usual, or was it my imagination?) and suddenly the near empty, dark and quiet corridors that were always appealing looked eerie and did everything to help the over-working imagination; hell bent on infusing life into each character of that book.
Struggling to cope and embarrassed to knock on strange doors and admit fear; I plugged my ears with 80’s music and walked toward the common balcony; certain that it would do the trick and calm me down.
I stood in darkness, gazing at the full-moon when something behind me moved. At first, I ignored; reprimanding my mind for playing dirty games but when it happened again, I mustered up the courage to turn slowly and face the shapeless structure that stood at a distance.
I tip-toed to the other side, watching behind all the time. With whatever little light Mr. Moon supplied from an angle, I saw a small head with a prominent nose and an absent chin coming out of an Urban Legendish coat; intently staring into her phone screen. Oblivious to my presence, she stood un-blinking and captivated and in her spectacles, I saw the reflection of what held her concentration- Chinese food!
That’s when I knew, I had met my first friend.
She turned out to be my loner-neighbour (who enjoyed a reputation of running home every week) and it turned out to be her first weekend in hostel. (Just what I was looking for!) That night we pulled off an all-nighter (my first!) and we discovered that Chinese was not the only love we shared.
That is how, when and where I met her. A dear friend, a confidant and my evil twin as I like to believe. An unlikely pair, these two are too similar, most said.
Although, we laughed, cried and got mad over the exact same things, we were as different as chalk n cheese.
In med-school, while I was the quintessential teacher’s pet, she was an on-the-edge back bencher. Whereas I could never dare to carry a phone to class (against college rules), she never thought twice before getting under the table to answer a call!
We never even shared a common pool of friends and on most occasions just barely tolerated each other’s social circle, yet, what we had; very few did! Sharing love for a hot dinner, an evening stroll and music- this pretty much summarizes our time spent together in a nearly thirteen-year old association.
Today, we are both married, live in different continents, separated by over eleven hours of time difference, with over a hundred excuses to just fade away from each other’s life (something which we are guilty of doing for most part of the year) but nothing changes when we meet.
And each time that happens, I am grateful to God.
Enough can never be said about the importance of good friendships, especially in an ever-changing, competitive world like today. We’ve all learnt to role-play while dealing with most aspects and situations but when with such relationships, you’re expected to be who you are, accepted with your character-flaws and loved for being YOU… isn’t it a blessing?
Any time invested in connecting with the goodness in each other goes a long way…For me- it was serendipity!